17 May 2018

Trump acknowledges repayment to lawyer

11:45 am on 17 May 2018

US President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time that he repaid his attorney Michael Cohen for a payment of at least$US100,001 ($NZ145,000) made to a "third party" in 2016, according to ethics disclosures signed by the president that were released by the US Office of Government Ethics on Wednesday.

US President Donald Trump and adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels.

US President Donald Trump and adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels. Photo: AFP

Mr Cohen made a $US130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, shortly before the 8 November, 2016, presidential election in exchange for her staying silent about an alleged affair she had with Trump.

Mr Trump's new disclosure statement did not describe the purpose or the recipient of the 2016 payment made by Mr Cohen.

But the acting director of the ethics office, David Apol, in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said it should have been disclosed in ethics documents that Trump filed in June 2017. Mr Apol's letter was released with the Trump disclosures.

The ethics office is a government watchdog that provides oversight of the executive branch program designed to prevent and resolve conflicts of interest.

Mr Trump's latest disclosure filing said Mr Cohen incurred the expense in 2016 and that Mr Cohen "sought reimbursement" in 2017. "Mr. Trump fully reimbursed Mr. Cohen," the report said.

The payment made by Mr Cohen was between $US100,001 and $US250,000 and there was no interest incurred, the report said.

Mr Trump had previously disputed whether he was aware of the payment by Mr Cohen and if he reimbursed his attorney.

In April, Mr Trump told reporters he did not know anything about the payment.

On 2 May, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who joined Mr Trump's personal legal team in April, said that Mr Trump had reimbursed Mr Cohen for the payment.

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